Attended one Saturday of Thriller Fest -- a conference for writers and lovers of thrillers - in New York City. Why attend any writers conference? This was the first time for me at this one. I've attended others -- on the very other end of the literary spectrum -- about ten years ago, a week-long writing conference at the University of Iowa who made me believe again that I could write. But if you are a new writer, attend to meet other writers, or in some cases like this the festival had an entire day of agents on panels. Or, attend to find out trends in the industry, or because you have to get out of your own head, or out of your damp cool basement into a over-cooled, windowless, packed hotel ballroom.
Best things about Thriller Fest - Ken Follett (Eye of the Needle and Pillars of the Earth) and Joe McGinniss (Fatal Vision and Blind Faith). One thing each said: Follett, (paraphrasing here), "Stakes need to grow higher for each character as the story evolves" and McGinniss, "True crime novel is dead... killed by cable news. Write it as fiction." For the YA readers in the crowd -- R. L. Stine of Goosebumps fame was there as a key note speaker -- and said when he was starting out he wrote two books a month (and did nothing much of anything else). More at www.thrillerfest.org and www.bigthrill.org